Be an empowered consumer by learning as much as you can about coupons, free samples, store policies, and manufacturer policies. It’s all about standing up for yourself and it might just save you some money! I’ve blogged about several topics that relate to this theme, here is a summary of those.

You Have the Right to Use Your Coupons @Target and @Walmart:
Know the store policies and follow-up with corporate if you believe your store is not following them. Target stores have recently started creating arbitrary policies at individual stores about stacking coupons and accepting printable coupons. Read about how myself and my readers are calling Target corporate for coupon support. Walmart has also been giving some of it’s coupon users trouble with their legitimate coupons. Print Walmart’s coupon policy and carry it with you to back-up your right to use your coupons there.
It’s happened to me enough times that I wrote about how I recommend handling it. Often I find that by speaking to the store manager I am able to resolve the issue on the spot to my satisfaction. Of course following up with corporate is the next step. Some stores form arbitrary policies that do not comply with corporate policies. You have the right to question corporate about your store’s policies.
Help fight the use of fraudulent coupons by never using them. This helps manufacturers and stores continue to issue great coupons for us to use legitimately. You also show be respecting the print limits because they help protect your right to use legitimate coupons.
If you are not satisfied with a product, contact the company (by phone is best, but email works too) to tell them specifically why you are not satisfied. Companies usually appreciate honest feedback from their customers and are often able to offer coupons or replacement of the product you are dissatisfied with.
Don’t ask for every single free sample you run across on the internet. Be smart and follow my tips to identify free sample offers that have a low likelihood of arriving in your mailbox and a high likelihood of sending you some spam. You also should only ask for the free samples you need, it just makes sense. Don’t ask for things you’ll never use, let someone else who is interested in the product get the free sample. If you do end up with free samples you don’t need, please find someone who can use them or donate them to a charity that needs them.
 
Did you know that some companies will even offer you customer service on the free samples they send you? If you receive a damaged sample, or the box arrives missing the actual sample, it’s worth following-up with the company that sent it. In many companies’ eyes, any customer is an important one – even the free sample customers!
What a great concept! You love a product, so ask for some coupons! You will be pleasantly surprised by the results. You can also join a fan club or sign-up for enews and you might get some fun surprises in your mailbox. This concept can also extend to samples. If you have a special interest in a new product, ask for a free sample! It never hurts to ask.

What other tips do you have for being an empowered consumer?